Cranberry Orange Muffins

Muffins are one of the easiest grab and go breakfast items. While certainly not a full balanced meal, for a person sneaking in extra time whenever she can, I find muffins to be an easy thing to snag on my way out the door. And ok, muffins can taste dayum good, too. It's like a half-assed cupcake for a breakfast. Which is a good thing.

Cranberry and orange are a powerful flavor combination. I've had it in cookies before, and so muffins are an easy swap. Rather than using orange juice, I used zest, as adding liquid to batter can alter the final result. Citrus is notorious for causing curdling when you have milk/cream in something as well, and I'm still figuring that out. While I doubt the final baked result would be affected by curdling (though it would create an ugly batter), orange zest adds flavor even in small doses without affecting consistency. Easy.


The interesting thing is that though I had made muffins before, there didn't seem to be a base recipe to work off of. Everything was fairly unique (like Pumpkin Muffins), and changing out a few ingredients wasn't plausible. Though unique, this recipe can be easily adapted for different toss-in items. Yay simplicity.

I made the batter with mostly all-purpose flour but swapped out a quarter of it for whole wheat, then added in protein powder as a bonus. Ever since getting in on these Complete Cookies, I've adored the idea of a dessert that is not just a sweet. While most of the fruit and nut bars and protein bars still have a lot of sugar, I have personally found that they work great for my busy lifestyle because of the extra protein. I am full for longer than I would be if I had just snagged an Entenmann's cookie off the shelf, and I love it. Even more amazing is that those protein cookies are vegan and gluten free yet not gross. They prove you can have it all (No, I am not a salesperson, I just very much like them and secretly plan to create my own).

I took out one of the eggs in exchange for a banana, and added flax seed because it's another handy egg replacement and offers its own health benefits. I've used it plenty of times in the past and have found ground seeds undetectable in cookies and muffins. Of course, some people have allergies, so it's important to be mindful of the baked good recipients when tossing it in a dish.

In addition, since I wanted to add protein powder to these, I also put in some Greek yogurt to keep them moist. I was concerned the extra dry ingredient would throw the whole thing off, and Greek yogurt hasn't let me down in cakes before.


I stirred in the orange zest and cranberries and these little monsters were ready for baking.


About 20 minutes later, muffins were ready for their photo op.


The orange flavor was light, so I would add a little bit more - I went with a tangerine as opposed to an orange, which may have contributed to that. The dried cranberries rehydrated nicely in the dough, and did not cause extra chewiness. The important things to note are that the protein powder didn't cause any extra dryness, so that Greek yogurt trick did what I needed. I would probably also add a little more yogurt next time, because though not dry, I am personally a fan of a pretty moist muffin. The fact I used half butter and half coconut oil made these last a few days (butter evaporates while oil can hold up), and more yogurt would help keep the drying at bay even more. Overall, I was happy with the recipe, especially fresh out of the oven!


Cranberry Orange Muffins Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons whey protein powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground flax seed
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 banana
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
Zest of one orange or tangerine

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugars, protein powder, baking soda, cinnamon, flax seed, nutmeg, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, banana, coconut oil, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add flour into the mixing bowl, until just combined. Stir in Greek yogurt, cranberries, and orange zest. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

adapted from morning glory muffins

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